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September 27, 1955 - Image 3

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1955-09-27

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Students Travel Far on Hitchhike Tour

,1 1

How far can ingenuity get you?
It got three university students
14,000 miles of travel and excite-
ment this summer which they
"wouldn't trade in for the world."
Equipped with only a change
of clothes, Albert N. Williams, '57,
Richard D. Blodgett, '57, and Jon
Westfall of Brown University
hitchhiked to Panama and back
on $300 apiece.
Trip Planned in Summer School
* The three hatched the idea of
a hitchhike tour through Central
America a year ago when they
were attending summer school at
the University of Mexico. How-
ever, nothing was definite until
last April when they had scraped
together enough money by work-
ing at odd jobs.
Luck was with the trio from
the beginning. Starting from
Ypsilanti-Blodgett's home-June
16, they got a ride to Tuscon,
Arizona, completing the 2,200 mile
trip in three days, their driver let
them out within 63 miles of the
y Mexican border.
From there they followed the
highway to the Mexican capital
giving their thumbs and feet plen-
ty of exercise.
Mexico Inexpensive
Sporting an enviable tan, Wil-
liams described Mexico as a para-
dise for students and honeymoon
couples. "Everything is very in-:
expensive," he explained, "and
the night clubs (which have no
age limit) can' only be compared
to those of New York."
They solved the clothing prob-
lem by carrying a washable suit,
shirt and tie with a clean pair of
shoes in knapsacks on their backs.
Their traveling outfits consisted
of heavy combat boots, khakis and
-; The next lap of their journey
tookhthem to Yucatan via boat
from Vera Cruz. Completely out
of contact with civilization now,
they explored the jungle-covered
ruins of the ancient, powerful
Mayan civilization.
Mayan Ruins a Favorite Spot
This was one of Williams' fav-
orite spots. "It's got the Egyptian
pyramids beat by the layout of the


buildings and the jungle setting,"
he said. "We saw so many strange
things that I can't pick one I lik-
ed the most."
The ruins were of elaborately
decorated temples to the sun and
other dieties, sacrificial altars,
palaces and burial places.
Blodgett and Williams are in-
terested in political science and
wanted to practice their Spanish.
However, they discovered on their
hike through the Indian villages
of Guatemala that the natives
only spoke a mixture of Indian
dialect. The boys manager on
sign language.
Had Cold Weather
Unusual for the tropical loca-
tion of the countries, the trio
found it quite cold. They related
how they read of 100 degree tem-
peratures in Michigan while they
were almost blue from camping
out in 60 degree and lower temp-
Like Guatemala they found
Honduras also wild and primitive.
Outside of its capital-a "dirty
mountain village" - the Indians
had a quaint habit of shooting
arrows at, strangers.
Unfortunately, Lady Luck re-
laxed her vigilance and tragedy
struck the trio. In Guatemala the
boys had climebd a 13,000 foot
vilcano and had run down, the
run taking three hours. In Sal-
vador Blodgett noticed that his
foot ached and by the time they
reached Honduras he was unable
to walk.
Injured Boy Flew Home
Carrying their companion, West-
fall and Williams caught a ride
on a ,truck bound for Managua,
Nicaragua (which isn't a wonder-
ful place, Williams added). Here
they left Blodgett under the. care
of the U.S. Marines with whom he
stayed until boarding a plane for
Westfall and Williams then pro-
ceeded on to Costa Rica. They
traveled mainly in trucks, sleeping
only when riding or camping on'
beaches. Occasionally they would
be invited to stay with American
millionaires in the area. Then
life was luxurious.
The two ran into luck again as

they crossed the Nicaragua-Costa
Rica border. These countries are
on the verge of war and the boys
crossed the border just two cars
ahead of application of an order
stopping travel between the coun-
Guests of President
In San Jose, Costa Rica, Wil-
liams and Westfall spent five days
as guests of that country's presi-
dent. They had met some sol-
diers and were staying in their
barracks. Two days later they
learned that they were in the
president's residence. They were
then given the use of his private
car and chauffer by the first lady
for the remainder of their stay..
Hitchhiked to Canal
They hitched a ride on a truck
to the canal, but on the way the
truck had 10 blowouts so all three
ended up hitch-hiking to the ca-
After they arrived in Panama
City life was much easier. The
American Embassy gave several
parties in their honor and many
people provided them with free
meals. They stayed in Panama
11 days and had to spend only
one dollar.
Sailed to Puerto Rico
F r o m Martinique Williams
"hopped" a luxury liner to Puerto
Rico. Although he was again
traveling steerage, he became
friends with a man in first class
who loaned him clothes and in-
vited him to share his quarters.
Williams finished the trip in first
class' without being caught by
ship officials.
In Puerto Rico he stayed with
a University student, Sergio Del-
gado, for eight days. Williams
toured the island and attended
parties, but he couldn't get used
to the chaparones. On a date with
an American-educated girl he
danced with her mother half the
Leaving Puerto Rico he flew
to Miami and hitchhiked to West
Palm Beach. Here he became so
travel weary lie spent almost all
of his remaining cash for a bus
ticket to Detroit. He arrived in
Detroit with 10 cents in his pocket.
How is that for ingenuity?




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